The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.
One of the things that bothers me most is the growing belief in the country that security is more important than freedom. It ain’t.
And reason teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.
No truly sophisticated proponent of repression would be stupid enough to shatter the facade of democratic institutions.
I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not so desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.
Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics.’ When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy hypocrisy.
From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor’s rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own.
The people who, in order to enjoy the liberty which suites them, resort to the representative system, must exercise an active and constant surveillance over their representatives, and reserve for themselves...the right to discard them if they betray their trust, and to revoke the powers which them might have abused.
The necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that ‘if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.’ it is a very serious consideration...that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.
A people may prefer a free government, but if, from indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary for preserving it; if they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked; if they can be deluded by the artifices used to cheat them out of it; if by momentary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet even of a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions; in all these cases they are more or less unfit for liberty: and though it may be for their good to have had it even for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it.
Let us contemplate our forefathers, and posterity, and resolve to maintain the rights bequeathed to us from the former, for the sake of the latter. The necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that ‘if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.’ It is a very serious consideration that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.
As long as I have any choice in the matter, I shall live only in a country where civil liberty, tolerance and equality of all citizens before the law prevail.